Hit-and-run driver arrested more than two years later

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two and a half years after a horrific hit-and-run crash on Tramway sent two teens to the hospital, a suspect is finally behind bars.

Friday morning Francisco Javier Perez plead not guilty to two counts of leaving the scene of an accident and one count of careless driving. A grand jury indicted him on all three charges earlier this week.

The father of one of the crash victims told KOB 4 his family will never have closure.

“She had four fractures in her neck and her upper back, she had 16 staples in her head, she had eight inner stitches and eight outer stitches to sew up the cuts in her head,” said Wally Salata. “She’s not going to be the same.

Wally’s daughter, Georgia, narrowly survived the crash. Wally said Georgia and her friend, Amaya, are still recovering from the physical and mental trauma they sustained. The crash was just one day after Georgia turned 16.

“The accident happened the day after her birthday, she doesn’t want to be in a car anywhere that time of year, which is you know, June 17. The accident happened June 18,” Wally said. “I worry about her mental health, I worry about, you know, how she’s going to be successful in life.”

Wally said both Georgia and Amaya graduated high school and are both going to New Mexico State University.

Perez, who is allegedly responsible for the crash, was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Nov. 19.

“I wouldn’t even call him a person,” Wally said. “He’s a coward, because he hit two girls, in the end, he took off running and he was away for 883 days. 883 days til he was caught.”

Earlier this week, Perez’s attorney argued for his pretrial release.

The state’s pretrial detention motion laid out a lengthy criminal history for Perez, including multiple pending felony cases, charges for DWI and child abuse.